Christmas in the country

The first 11 years of my life I grew up surrounded by cousins and aunties & uncles in Illinois & Indiana. We got together pretty often, but I remember Thanksgiving and Christmas being especially special. My aunts were always busy in the kitchen, timing the food to come out at the right times so it would be consistently hot, while my uncles would talk in the den and we cousins (if we were all there, there were 15 of us) would play to our hearts content until we were told to wash our hands for dinner! (Here is my mom on the left with 3 of her sisters)
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I can’t remember the last time I was at a Hook Family holiday. I draw a complete blank. I can picture running up & down the stairs at each of my aunts houses when I was a kid, but I can’t remember dates. I would venture to say it has been at least 15 years or more since I was there for a Thanksgiving or Christmas, since we moved to Florida from there in 1991.

Brian has spent time with each of my aunts & uncles but only met a few of my cousins. When one of my aunts was visiting this fall, she suggested we should come for Thanksgiving this past year. We didn’t think we could make it then, but Christmas seemed very likely, so that’s just what we did! We headed to Northwest Indiana last week and my aunts delayed Christmas for us to all come up there as well as my cousin Kate and her new hubby who drove out from South Dakota.

I welled up with tears quite a few times on the drive there. I was just so excited and very sentimental … to see my family all together and for Brian to experience what I’d described to him as a treasured part of my childhood. Many of my cousins have also moved some distance away, but seven of us were there … most now with spouses … and how much fun to see miniature versions of ourselves also running around! Ten children under 10 years old!

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My aunts put out an amazing dinner … seriously… all my favorites (did someone make a call?) Avy and Tay were extremely excited to learn that they have cousins! They can’t wait to go back.

I should back up a little… It snowed our first morning there….the biggest flakes I think I’d ever seen – it was so beautiful, and yet, these Florida-taught drivers were not up for the challenge! We stayed in, drank coffee, played games and worked in the kitchen. Since we weren’t headed out by car, Jordan brought home pizza from the one and only Aurelios Pizza. The Super Six pizza was love at first bite for me as a kid and remains my very favorite! I’ve been waiting 10 years to have another bite and it didn’t disappoint! I really hoped Brian would love it too. Now that we’re not so far away, hopefully it won’t be long before I have another! Here we are before devouring it!

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We were still a little chicken to drive so Jordan took us out Saturday and Brian experienced a true Chicago-style hot dog and then Jay took us for a ride in an H2. It was very cool! I had no idea it could do what all it can do! Brian says we can save for a used one, and I say we can save for our kids college education instead. (This is us with Jordan & Jay…my cousin Jordan & I were born 6 days apart and Jason & B were roommates in/after college. We introduced them at our own wedding rehearsal and now we’re all family! It doesn’t get better than that!)

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I’ve blogged in the past about how I love myspace for having reconnected me and my childhood friend Sonia. Before we left town to head home, we met up for lunch with her and her beautiful one year old daughter. She shared news of friends we’d had as kids who had passed away, by accident and otherwise, reminding me how fragile life is and how fragile those around us may be. How every day really does count. It was a short visit, but aside from some sad news, it was very very sweet.

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Now we’re back home, safe & sound having had a fabulous mini-vacation…we all took naps today, what a rare treat! It is nearly midnight and as usual, one of us is asleep on the couch… Happy New Year!!

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~ by hthr on January 1, 2008.

One Response to “Christmas in the country”

  1. I so wish you would have had time to visit with your Mejan family too! Maybe next time.

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